The senior Bajan Tridents are raring and ready ahead of their second FIFA World Cup Qualifier tomorrow night at the Felix Sanchez Stadium in the Dominican Republic.
Pegged as favorites in the Group D matchup against Anguilla, Head Coach Russell Latapy said they were looking forward to getting some points on the board. Barbados defeated Anguilla 7-1 in 2006 during an international friendly.
“When we left Barbados coming to these two games, we knew the Panama game was always going to be a game that was difficult for us. We knew in terms of the Anguilla game, we were going to be favorites based on the standings. We’re looking forward to getting some points on the board. The players are really positive and we can’t wait to get going,” he said during a pre-game press conference via Zoom earlier today.
He said the team had completed its recovery, with one player who remained a worrying situation, but the medical team was working assiduously to have it sorted by the start of play tomorrow.
Having had a chance to see Anguilla play, Latapy said the Tridents wanted to create and develop their own philosophy and style of play and identity.
“I think against Panama it was very difficult to impose the way we want to play against them. In Panama we had one professional team against one amateur team. Now what we have with Barbados and Anguilla is two amateur teams playing. I would like to think we’re closer on the same playing field and I would like to think we can impose our style and our philosophy and our identity more in a positive way than we were able to do against Panama. I want to play with the football. The players also want to play with the ball. I am quite confident that we will be able to get the ball down and impose our style more on opponents like this,” he said.
The long-standing midfield wizard turned coach said he had been involved in six or seven World Cup campaigns, all of which had been difficult.
“It doesn’t matter who you play against. You have to go out there and work and fight and sweat for everything. I am sure this game is going to be no different. There is no easy game in international football. We go out there and give the best that we can give, and try to play the way we want to play. If we can do that better than the other team, then the result will come our way,” he said.
While he noted he was going up against his former mate and friend Stern John, Latapy said the Tridents did not underestimate any opponent but maintained Barbados held real talent.
“I think it is a question of respect, the same way we don’t anybody to underestimate us or take us for granted, we’re going to give the same respect to every team we play against. We’re going to go out and work as hard as we can to make Barbados proud, and to follow the dream and potential that we think we have. We have a lot of talented players in the Caribbean and Barbados in particular. I think it is a question of changing one or two elements in the way we look at football. I think it’s about changing our mentality and correcting our work ethic.
“I think if we can improve on one or two of these things, it would keep us moving in the right direction. We have fantastic players. I think it’s a question of the players training in the right way. It’s a question of the coaches being able to guide some of the young talents in the right way that they could fulfill their potential. If we can do this, we’re definitely in a good place,” Latapy said.
Meanwhile, President of the Barbados Football Association Randy Harris said they were looking forward to a positive result tomorrow evening, but noted the continued feeling of the local footballing public appeared reminiscent of play in the 70s and 80s.
“I always hear them make reference to St Lucia and Dominica and the next body couldn’t beat Barbados. This is a different age. Most of the teams, just like us, are looking at Europe and the USA to bring nationals that are professionals to represent their club. It makes a big difference,” he explained.
He said what was happening at the domestic level, was not the same at the international level. Using Montserrat as an example, Harris said they were able to draw with teams like El Salvador and Antigua and Barbuda because they had a British dependency and were able to call on people with a Montserratian background to represent their country.
“If Barbados is to be successful, they have to play football on the day. I am quite confident, from what I am seeing here, that we have what it takes to be successful in this competition. Unfortunately, we did not win our first game, but I know that the enthusiasm is high. I can see the extra effort from the players and the mere fact we are here in a COVID situation, with the discipline shown by the players for the two weeks we have been here, I know that we are in a better place. Well done to the coaching and management staff and we look forward to some positive things starting from tomorrow evening,” he said.